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Case Study
Category: Transition & Succession Solutions

Paul B Zimmerman

Client Testimonial

-Rodger Weaver, CEO Paul B Zimmerman Inc. family of companies

“We have utilized North Group’s services for family business succession planning. They have provided us with good counsel as we established our next generation corporate governance and operational leadership structure. Their vantage point of being on the outside looking in, coupled with their experienced professionals, allowed them to expertly and successfully guide us through these delicate processes and have positioned us for future growth. Thank you North Group!”

Client Profile

Paul B. Zimmerman opened his 40’ x 60’ equipment repair shop west of Ephrata in 1947. Today, the Paul B. Zimmerman, Inc. family of companies employs nearly 300 people and has four companies.

  • PaulB Hardware consists of two retail hardware stores – one in Lititz and one in Belleville.
  • PBZ LLC is a full-service metal manufacturing shop including the CropCare and Zimmerman Cattle Control brands.
  • Keystone Koating operates state-of-the-art powder coating facilities in Lititz and Mifflintown.
  • PaulB Wholesale supplies agricultural, industrial, and mechanical parts to retail stores, manufacturers, and repair shops.

That’s four distinct entities, each with its own president.

The Challenge

The organization was headed into its third generation of leaders, led by six brothers. Two of the brothers, Paul Jr. and Mark, representing the rest of the group, approached North Group requesting assistance with succession planning. There were many cousins working in the business and they wanted to identify the next generation of leaders. They viewed North Group as someone who could do that more objectively.

The brothers were the primary leaders. They met regularly and spent most of their time focusing on day-to-day operations. They needed clarity on the purpose of their meetings – for example, was it a board meeting, a leadership team meeting, or an operations meeting? They wanted to improve organizational structure and role definition. All told, including the cousins, there were 16 shareholders.

Our Approach

We facilitated many conversations about the process itself. We weren’t prescriptive, and we helped them understand the needs of such a large organization. We discussed important roles – board, company leadership team, leadership groups for the entities – and the responsibilities of these respective groups. The six brothers took responsibility to work through the challenges of reorganization and made room for the next generation to come into leadership.

After a succession plan was in place, North Group had several consultants work with the company to develop leaders through individual coaching, including the presidents of the four entities, members of the leadership teams of the entities, and managers within those entities.

Additional work has included board development, off-site strategic planning, and team building for the Executive Leadership Team and the leadership teams of the entities.


A five to six-year process resulted in identifying the need for a CEO to lead the company. We provided guidance for the search committee as they worked through the process of who the CEO might be. Should it be someone from within the organization, or outside? We also interviewed each of the shareholders for their input. After the CEO was appointed, an Executive Leadership Team was formed. The CEO now leads this team comprised of the CFO, Director of HR, and presidents of each entity.